Interview with Koos Verkaik
Author of Nicolaes Nimbus
NICOLAES NIMBUS by Koos Verkaik The book that had to be written… Koos Verkaik is one of the hardest working authors today; 60 different titles under his own name, with even more than 70 under a pseudonym! He a true master of the genre: Magic, Mystery and Adventure! For Outer Banks Publishing Group he has written the intriguing novels Heavenly Vision and The Nibelung Gold, plus the series of children’s books Saladin the Wonder Horse and Alex and The Wolpertinger. Outer Banks Publishing Group has just published his newest novel, the sensational, breathtaking Nicolaes Nimbus, a high tech science vs ancient magic blockbuster… From the back cover: Scientists and wealthy owners of high-tech companies have pumped millions of dollars into the search for immortality. But does the future look bright or is there disaster waiting behind the horizon of time? The world is getting more complicated by the day, but who’s actually in charge? A group of scientists in Germany have unmasked a cheating visionary. An intriguing phenomenon from the past turns up. Who is Nicolaes Nimbus? Is he an immortal man of flesh and blood from our ancient past? The hunt is on! The secret is priceless! Who is in control, the scientists or the mystic? The intriguing novel Nicolaes Nimbus embraces modern developments… and warns against ancient magic that never dies, waiting for the right time to manifest itself. A book for this day and age, a book that had to be written…
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A book for this day and age, a book that had to be written… could you say a little more about this?
- We live in a very interesting time, with a period of magic and superstition behind us and a period of unknown technical progress in front of us. You might say that we live in an interim. Allow me to tell you the facts in just a few words:
We see the world through the filter of our brain – brainstem, midbrain, frontal lobe.
As human beings we are still evolving and we cannot imagine how we will see our world after our frontal lobe has grown, and it will. Scientifically, intervention will make us almost immortal, hyper-intelligent, and very different from what we are now.
Today we stand with one leg in the past (the magic and superstition I mentioned) and one leg in the future (longing for the possibilities that will make us live healthy and strong for ages).
Magic is still around us but we are afraid of the future, of what will happen to the human race.
That is what Nicolaes Nimbus is about, ancient magic vs high tech science!
I assume you studied about the past and the future for this novel?
- Oh yes! I always do a lot of research before I start working a novel. I am a collector of books about history, magic, strange phenomena, science, etc. There are over 2000 different books in my workroom and I know exactly where to find the facts I need for new novels. For Nicolaes Nimbus I read several non-fiction books. Here are just a few: Religion and the Decline of Magic by Keith Thomas, almost 800 pages of stunning information; The Secret History of the World by Jonathan Black, The Greatest Show on Earth, The Evidence for Evolution by Richard Dawkins; What We Cannot Know, Explorations on the Edge of Knowledge by Marcus de Sautoy and of course the great works of Yuval Noah Harari, From Animals into Gods, and Homo Deus. I admire the German author, Hoimar von Ditfurth, he has written in depth about the universe, about the developing of the human brain and about the way life became possible on our planet.
Heavy stuff – but your books are so easy to read…
- That is right. You can read my books as pure entertainment. On the other hand, you can read between the lines and discover interesting facts. My fiction is easy to read. I will take you by the hand and lead you through my odd worlds of fantasy. All my work is pure adventure.
Have you written about magic and science before?
- Many times. I wrote my first novel at the age of 18 and it was published right away. It was about a young man who offered his brain to build an intelligent starship. The main character, Adolar (also the title of the novel), said no to this weird proposal from the scientists, but his friend and colleague Jit agreed to do it. More than often I often perform tricks with the human brain in my books.
So you started very early as a writer. And it is said that you have never had writer’s block…
- I write like I work, from one to the next with almost no break in between. I was the youngest comic writer in Europe at the age of 16. Then I started to write novels. And I worked as a copywriter for a big agency always working, every day. I write in Dutch and then have my books translated into English with the help of my editors.
Tell us some more about Nicolaes Nimbus.
- One of the main characters is Rein Vulpes, a young master painter from Rotterdam.
He always uses a stage name, derived from Vulpes vulpes, the Latin name for fox. His first name is his true name but he feels a strong affinity to Reinaert, the fox from medieval Europe portrayed in adventurous animal stories as a very sly rascal who is always one step ahead of the others. Rein always manages to nudge things his way, to manipulate people and situations, he knows how to lead everyone up the garden path, how to set a trap for other animals, from cats to dogs, from badgers to hare, even the strong wolf, the bear and the royal lion. He has memoized many lines from poems about the fox and every now and then, when the situation calls for it, he recites:
“Then hear me, noble gentlemen, I will be happy to inform you how I, innocent like the hares, came to my first tricks and snares…”
Rein Vulpes is given to laughter, he is pliable, but is not to be trifled with and he will get his own way. He lives from day-to-day confident that he owns the town; he diminishes all people around him to mere walkers-on in a play that is especially written for him.
“And when the curtain falls, when I breathe my last, it is all over and done – then nothing exists anymore.”
You come up with odd, colorful characters often. It has become a Koos Verkaik trademark. Can you expand on that?
- Nicolaes Nimbus is full of strange people, scientists and charlatans, for instance. And then there is, of course, Nicolaes Nimbus himself, a most mysterious figure from the past, a sorcerer, a magician – but no one knows if he actually exists; is he a just larger than life or is he still alive, perhaps he is immortal?
That is what it is all about in this novel – the search for immortality. A group of extremely clever rich German and Dutch scientists hope to live forever. They search for different possibilities to prolong life and spend lots of money to reach their goal. Then they hear about a wizard who was supposed to have lived ages ago – Nicolas Nimbus. If Nicolaes Nimbus is still alive and has found the secret of immortality through magic; the scientists want to find him – to examine him in their labs! But they need master painter Rein Vulpes to set a trap for Nicolaes Nimbus. Then high tech science meets ancient magic…
Yes, this book had to be written… before magic has completely vanished from our world.
Here we stand, halfway up the ladder to perfection, with a brain that has not completely developed, the earthly past beneath us, and the heavenly future high above us…
The Search for Immortality A group of extremely clever rich German and Dutch scientists hopes to live forever. They search for different possibilities to prolong life and spend lots of money to reach their goal. Then they hear about a wizard who was supposed to have lived ages ago – Nicolas Nimbus. If Nicolaes Nimbus is still alive and has found the secret of immortality through magic; the scientists want to find him – to examine him in their labs! But they need master painter Rein Vulpes to set a trap for Nicolaes Nimbus. Then high tech science meets ancient magic…